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Signs and Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmias

Heart arrhythmias are electrical disruptions that affect the natural rhythm of the heart.  The result is a heart that beats too fast, too slowly or irregularly.  Any kind of irregularity in the heart rate is known as a heart arrhythmia.  Heart arrhythmias are usually harmless.   Other times heart arrhythmias may be the manifestation of an underlying cardiac disease, and can be life threatening.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of heart arrhythmias below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmias include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Episodic heart fluttering
  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • A slow heart beat
  • Uncomfortable awareness of the heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Skipped heart beats
  • Lightheadedness
  • Chest discomfort

Atrial tachycardia is when the heart contracts too rapidly, causing a racing heart.  This is often associated with coronary artery disease.  Bradycardia is when the heart beats too slowly.  Atrial fibrillation is a deadly form of heart arrhythmia where the heart muscle contracts and spasms instead of pumping blood.  This can result in a medical emergency within seconds.


Diagnosis of Heart Arrhythmias

Heart monitoring tests that help to diagnose heart arrhythmias include an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram and a stress test.  Some ECG monitoring devices can be taken home to record your heart’s activity throughout the day.  It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cardiac condition.


Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Heart Arrhythmias

You and Your Arrhythmia: A Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems for Patients & Their Families
John A. Kastor
A Patient’s Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
Todd J. Cohen


Arrhythmias in Heart Failure (Clinical Approaches To Tachyarrhythmias)
William G. Stevenson M.D.
Cardiac Arrhythmias in Children and Young Adults with Congenital Heart Disease
Edward P. Walsh

Heart Arrythmias Resources

General Patient Resources

  • American Heart Association

Learn more about atrial fibrillation, and the prevention and treatment of arrythmias.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/Arrhythmia_UCM_002013_SubHomePage.jsp

  • WD

List of 14 disease causes of Heart arrhythmias, patient stories, diagnostic guides, medical books excerpts online about heart arrhythmias, drug side effects and more.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/Arrhythmia_UCM_002013_SubHomePage.jsp

  • Med Help

Collection of patient medical questions and answers about arrhythmia which are replied to by online doctors from leading medical institutions.

http://www.medhelp.org/win/forums/cardio/archive/Arrhythmia1.html

  • Arrhythmic Hearts

Written by a parent who lost her son to an arrhythmic heart condition at age 11.

http://arrhythmichearts.org/



Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of this common heart disorder.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-arrhythmias/DS00290

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, risk factors, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002091/

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US national Library of Medicine.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001101.htm